How Instagram has Grown to Become a DTC Shopping Channel – How it Benefits Smaller, Solo Brands

A good shopping experience ensures that buyers are in control of their purchasing process.

And to create such shoppable experiences, social commerce supports direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands and business models. With the help of social platforms, DTC brands are bidding adieu to traditional practices, removing the middlemen from the selling process and offering products direct to consumers at fair prices.

To forge a direct relationship between consumers and brands, social media offers a powerful platform, and Instagram tops the list.

Instagram – a Backbone of the DTC Business Model

With 1.5 billion monthly users, Instagram holds the top position in the list of social platforms. Given that, the platform is the most popular among Gen Z and millennials.

Since the platform was established, the company gained staggering momentum in a few initial months only. But the content, features, and tools available on Instagram have undergone dramatic changes. What once started as a simple photography app and a casual digital watering hole to check in with friends, relatives, or old classmates, it has become a non-negotiable e-commerce tool to build brand awareness, customer engagement, and loyalty, and generate more revenues.

The initial focus of Instagram on photo sharing, tagging friends, and commenting led to a high volume of user engagement. The app gathered popularity with word-of-mouth marketing as users engaged friends and family to join. Eventually, all this growth made Instagram the second-most downloaded free app on the Apple store in 2018. By 2020, the user base had already bypassed 1 billion.

Gradually, the brands and the company itself took advantage of this extensive user base. The app came with more updates and upgrades that made it easier for consumers to shop directly from the app. For instance, in 2020, users could discover shoppable products right from the navigation menu to make it easier than ever to find products and shop from their favorite brands.


For DTC brands and businesses, such shoppable Instagram posts have become a great way to not only showcase their products but also increase customer engagement and drive more sales.

And the upgrades don’t stop here, Instagram keeps introducing new features to help users to shop right from the app. Instagram has totally changed online shopping behaviors and it is time for DTC brands to take advantage of this incredible social cum shopping app.

So, what are Instagram’s capabilities that give it an edge over others? Let us discover them here:

  • Organic Content: Unlike other commercial channels, Instagram allows everyone to create unpaid organic content. The feature empowers smaller brands to reach and connect with their audience more authentically.
  • Ads: Instagram started with its paid advertising long ago. Smaller brands can run paid ads on Instagram at minimum rates and drive engagement.
  • Instagram Shops: Here lies the maximum potential of this tool. The stores act as a storefront where users can browse products, explore product details and make purchases without leaving the Instagram app.

How does Instagram help Small Brands drive sales?

We know Instagram has billions of users. But how does it impact buying decisions and how does it help smaller brands drive engagement?

Meta has found that 80% of people use Instagram to discover and research upcoming products or services. Given that your customers are already active on the gram, you just need to push them a little more to guide them through the buying process. But it is critical for you to show up there.

Instagram as a part of your social commerce strategy shall help you:

  • Attract the right audience: With a base of close to 1 billion users, Instagram offers an incredible opportunity to attract the right audience. So, smaller brands can show up on Instagram, create content that resonates with the preferences of their audience and take advantage of every feature of the app.
  • Drive personalized experiences: Instagram is a platform that helps every business drive personalized experiences. Instagram offers a space to start conversations and build communities for your brand.
  • Offer Support: Brands can drive engagement by sharing stories, narratives, and anecdotes, and along with this, the gram also offers you the chance to provide instant customer support.
  • Boost Customer Engagement: Instagram reels have been a blessing. Content creation in the form of videos is one of the quickest ways to boost engagement and reach out to a larger audience.
  • Drive Conversions: Meta has reported that 86% of consumers agree that they will try, purchase, or recommend a product from the gram. As a result, the platform is a really good one to drive conversions.

Wrapping Up

Unquestionably, social media marketing is a crucial part of your DTC strategy because it allows you to connect with your audience at a personal level. However, simply showing up on the gram won’t help. You can drive consumer engagement and increase your ROI through organic and positive brand interactions.

Aim for personalized experiences and such small and simple everyday interactions help DTC brands like yours to walk the talk as a customer-first brand.

ADSand loyaltyanecdotesAttract the right audienceBrand awarenessbuild communitiescontent creationcustomer engagementdrive conversionsDrive EngagementDTC brandsDTC ShoppingDTC strategyFeaturedInstagramInstagram Shopsnarrativesnon-negotiable e-commerce toolOrganic ContentPersonalized Experiencessharing storiesshoppable products